More pluses than minuses coming out of Dawgs’ impressive first win

A quarterback who can run ... it's been a while, hasn't it? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

A quarterback who can run ... it's been a while, hasn't it? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

A few more thoughts on Saturday’s season opener …

Yes, a bunch of folks left at halftime (why go to all that trouble and expense to watch just half a game?) and the steady stream of folks leaving early really picked up midway through the third quarter. But considering it was an early kickoff against a Sun Belt Conference opponent, the crowd was surprisingly into the game. I particularly liked the classy cheers for Logan Gray’s first reception and the fans behind the bench applauding Todd Grantham’s chewing out of Bacarri Rambo and the defense after Louisiana-Lafayette’s lone score. Grantham shows the kind of passion and demand for perfection that Georgia fans found conspicuously missing in recent seasons, and we appreciate it. …

On special teams, Drew Butler was superb and other highlights included Blair Walsh notching another field goal over 50 yards and new punt returner Branden Smith giving us a tantalizing taste of things to come. But the kickoff portion of the game still needs work: The Dogs gave up a 46-yard return on the opening kick. Once Walsh and his sore leg took over from Brandon Bogotay on kickoffs, he mostly went for very high, short kicks that were well covered. On a later kick, he put it into the end zone for a touchback, but with little hang time, which is Mark Richt’s main worry about letting Walsh kick it as far as he can. …

Speaking of Smith, he looked like a definite three-way threat Saturday, which should prove to be a big plus for the Dogs this season with his terrific speed. …

Several fans noted after the game that Georgia’s running game showed flashes of what it can do — with Caleb King and Carlton Thomas both breaking tackles — but certainly wasn’t as impressive as you might have expected against the Ragin’ Cajuns, even accounting for Washaun Ealey not playing. As I noted Saturday, the lack of preseason reps for the intact starting offensive line probably had something to do with that. Likewise, with those false start flags, which prompted Richt to note that his redshirt freshman QB showed more poise than some of his senior linemen. The big question: How long this season will it take the OL to get in sync? Fingers crossed that the answer is just a week. …

Aaron Murray seemed determined not to take a sack and a couple of times showed surprising ability to escape from the clutches of would-be tacklers. But, as Richt noted, he needs to realize he doesn’t have to scramble every time his receivers are covered. Still, that scrambling ability is something opposing defenses are going to have to take into account, which should work in Georgia’s favor. We haven’t had that since D.J. Shockley.

On one of those scrambles Saturday that resulted in a completion to Orson Charles, I liked the way the tight end came back to get open and help out his quarterback. …

I also was impressed with the way Sanders Commings managed to reverse direction after his interception and get a nice return out of it, and with the linebacker play in general, led by Akeem Dent’s six tackles. …

My favorite Richt quote from Saturday was when he said that the players suspended for the first game should return for South Carolina “unless something stupid happens between now and the ballgame.” A touch of sarcasm totally justified by the coach’s obvious frustration with recent events.

Feel free to share your highs and lows from the game. And everyone have a great Labor Day holiday!

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196 comments Add your comment

Dawg

September 5th, 2010
9:12 am

Scooter

September 5th, 2010
9:16 am

I suspect on the running game… La La probably stacked the box (I know we should still be able to blow them back) trying to make Murray do a bit more… which he did. I think on the running game, the thing that troubled me was we had a few negative running plays. I also don’t know why we didn’t toss sweep it. It worked great once and we didn’t see it again.

RxDawg

September 5th, 2010
9:19 am

How bout them Dawgs

Kramer

September 5th, 2010
9:19 am

All in all I was pleased with our performance, especially the agressive play of the defense. This team believes in itself and it shows. They never let up. And can Grantham chew some a$$? Man he lit into Rambo like nobody’s business and i read where Rambo liked it. We’re on to something here. Can’t wait to see us with all the starters back next week!

renegade#1

September 5th, 2010
9:20 am

cpsmith

September 5th, 2010
9:24 am

Murray looks like ‘Ol Andy Johnson to me. Swarming defense, few penalties, gonna be a great year guys!!

Say What???

September 5th, 2010
9:25 am

There was a lot to be happy with on Saturday. However, our next game against USC is now even more important. All the trolls on this board were saying how our new defense was not going to be any good and Murry was another Joe Cox. After both of those were proved wrong yesterday, they changed their tune to “well, it was an inferior team… wait for South Carolina… a real SEC team… they are going to kill you…” It is going to be interesting to see what the trolls come up with if we handle USC.

I haven’t been this excited in years. I’m not ready to say we are NC caliber or even good enough to win the SEC, but I do know that this team is heads and shoulders above last year’s team.

BjohnDawg

September 5th, 2010
9:26 am

I like the fact that the Dawgs limited the penalties and penalty yardage. And the decrease in turnovers. If that can carry through the season, this could be a special season.

The experienced line was a disappointment. They are suppose to be the strength of this team.Coach S. should have them ready next week.

F-105 Thunderchief

September 5th, 2010
9:28 am

“Still, that scrambling ability is something opposing defenses are going to have to take into account, which should work in Georgia’s favor. We haven’t had that since D.J. Shockley. …”

Uh, wrong. Stafford could rip off 10-yards or more pretty regularly. People tend to forget that.

Jay

September 5th, 2010
9:29 am

Much more good than bad. Murray’s scrambles-he was surprisingly accurate on the move–threw it on the money—and didn’t take a hit–so as long as he makes good decisions–let him have some rope–1 bad throw–int drop. Rush game–backs got over 5 ypc–no prob there–ripped 20 yard & 14 yard run. 3 forced to’s from defense was stellar. 9 tackles for loss. 14 yards yielded to rushing. Gray is a weapon–and his teammates love him for staying–the guy has a knack for getting open. Brown ran some great routes and nice catches–big improvement. Durham too. TE’s wern’t used enough.

extrapoint

September 5th, 2010
9:31 am

Yesterday,I noticed a BIG different in our style of tackling. As the new linebacker coach said upon arrival, did anyone ever teach the defense how too tackle. Yesterday, it was shoulder to shoulder and drive them back. As this unit jells, we are going to see some smash mouth football from them.

Villa R

September 5th, 2010
9:31 am

Posie of 2 QB’s was surprising. Murray looked like Stafford. Mason looked like Brady.

guy

September 5th, 2010
9:32 am

Enter your comments here

Fire Stacy Searles

September 5th, 2010
9:34 am

Williams Brice Stadium will be the loudest place in the country by the third qtr with the slamming of georgia fans car doors next Saturday. UGA played a freakin highschool team yesterday and couldnt even run block well. What a joke !

E City

September 5th, 2010
9:36 am

You have got to put Murray in the Heisman talk with 4 td’s. On track for 50+. One of the best debut’s for a QB I’ve seen in maybe 25 years.

ugaclassof2004

September 5th, 2010
9:38 am

I’m not worried about the running game. The passing game is what needed the work yesterday, and it worked so I’m not disappointed in the running game. I was impressed with Carlton Thomas, and Caleb did alright on the carries he was given. We didn’t have our in “between the tackles” back in Washuan Ealey who gets the tough yardage for us, so I’m not worried about it. Caleb is never going to be our “grind for a first down” back, but if you give him a little bit of space and he’ll take it to the house like he did vs. Auburnand Tech. Personally I was not impressed with USC’s front 7, so I think the O-Line and running game COULD have a big day vs. them. We shall see.

Spike

September 5th, 2010
9:41 am

Nice, fair comments Bill. I hope we play like that next week. Let’s throw the ball to Kris Durham! He has great hands, notwithstanding the drop yesterday.

aj

September 5th, 2010
9:43 am

If we look this good at USC then i am really going to get excited about the season, I just want to see us play against and sec team before i make a predictions on the season.

Bill King

September 5th, 2010
9:44 am

F-105:
I think saying Stafford ripped off those runs “pretty regularly” is overstating it. He could and did run on occasion, but most of his success in those instances came from the fact that the defense didn’t expect him to run. They were worried about his arm. With a dual-threat QB, they have to worry about both.

E City

September 5th, 2010
9:44 am

Nosetackle had a great game, watching the replay last night. He didn’t get beat on a single double team. I am assuming it was Tyson, not sure.

Also, on the 3 interceptions, Houston got big pressure on the QB each time. Houston played a monster game, look for him to get 1-2 sacks per game. Thought TJ looked fast too.

The DB’s played much better, especially the corners, didn’t see them make a bad play all day. Rambo got caught on the 1, but safeties played superb, Rambo made some great tackles. Branden Smith was a star everywhere you put him–played lights out–MVP of the 1st game, bsides Murray.

Budweiser Bob

September 5th, 2010
9:45 am

Bill

Stop playing the old Beatles records and respond sometime to your fans here

Run blocking scares me and Im waiting to see just how good this defense is or will be

Gamec0ck Pete

September 5th, 2010
9:45 am

I would like to be the first to welcome all mutt fans to the Marcus Latimore show next Saturday. Please have plenty of Tums or Rolaids on hand mutt fans. BTW you will be able to text the suicide watch hot line during the game.

Lewis Grizzard

September 5th, 2010
9:46 am

Enter your comments here

Budweiser Bob

September 5th, 2010
9:47 am

Bill

I totally agree with you about UGA fans paying the money they do and then leave at halftime oh and show up late, we are the worst

Jay

September 5th, 2010
9:47 am

Loving these big 6′ 4”, 6′ 5” receivers. AJ, Brown, & Durham are all tall and fast. Once Ealey, Green, and Tavarres return, it’s going to be exciting whatching this offense run on all cyclinders.

Pago Pago Dawg

September 5th, 2010
9:49 am

We kept reading that our “O” line woul be the best in the SEC!

Budweiser Bob

September 5th, 2010
9:49 am

Game Kook Pete

I would like to welcome you to hit and run Ealey next week

I will bring you my barf bag so you wont throw up on your fellow fans when you get sick of the beat down that is coming

Lewis Grizzard

September 5th, 2010
9:59 am

Aaron did not throw an interception. Yeah, yeah, I know.. that’s the way it will go down in the record book, but he hit Durham perfectly in the numbers with that pass and the defender got lucky with the bounce. I was very impressed with him.

And, ‘Fire Stacy Searles’, who DIDN’T play a high school team yesterday? One can only look for improvements in their team, and I think Georgia showed more than anybody else.

Btw, green’s not your color. Remember, jealously will eat you up inside.

Lewis Grizzard

September 5th, 2010
10:02 am

Fellow Dog fan posters, there is a zero in gamec0ck pete’s name for a reason.

Dawg 39

September 5th, 2010
10:02 am

I still contend that this team is the most talented team that CMR has had. Obviously a lot to do before it jells, but, if it ever does, watch out. IF 8 in the box & make Murray beat us remains the norm, getting TK & AJ back becomes even more important. The line does need to run block better & the TE needs to become a constant receiving threat. I expect that to happen but It would be good if would happen by next saturday.Special teams appear to be better this year.. USCe & the Dawgs are now officially in the hunt.because of their defenses. GATA.

Florida Dawg

September 5th, 2010
10:03 am

Well a couple of things…we know Murray can throw the ball with accuracy and has a nice touch.
Somewhat concerned that he could get intercepted with a light touch against an SEC defense.
Anyway…Murray is a player and has established himself as a leader at this point.
Spurrier with have something for us but I believe if we can take the crowd out early, we should control SC and win the game…27-17.
I have always said, if we beat Florida, everything will come together. After yesterday, it looks like we are certainly capable of beating Florida…since Florida appears to be able to beat itself.
UF is getting beat-up in the local media here in Jax…right now, if coach can keep our players out of jail, we are looking good.

Tony

September 5th, 2010
10:04 am

Like the gameplan, simple, Murray had about 5 pass plays.

SOUTHGADAWG88

September 5th, 2010
10:05 am

The OL is doing their usual “stumble around blindly for a couple of games” dance but hopefully next week SS will pull a CTG and light a few fires.I hear AJ has issues that have nothing to do with South Beach.Good news being he should be on the field Sat.Wooten and Brown need to keep working on drops….Green,King and Durham will be terrors on opposing secondaries but we are going to need those two kids to make a few plays before it’s all said and done.Branden will get his chance to become an impact player for us this year….he looks ready to compete….I just hope he has worked his butt off this summer on ball security.The D?…..I’ll wait until after the SC game to start crowing but I can plainly see that the kids are pumped to play in this system!Thing is… Spurrier and Petrino are two pretty good playcallers ..so the next two weeks will show how much our kids have absorbed this new D.UGA/LSU in the SEC championship game was my summer prediction and I feel real good about UGA.

Gamec0ck Pete

September 5th, 2010
10:07 am

Steve

September 5th, 2010
10:14 am

There were a lot of positive things to see in the game for the Dawgs but the best thing I saw was the fire and passion from that defense and Grantham! How refreshing! Dude can chew some serious A$$! Love it.
Last years defense would have given up 2 or 3 TDs to that team.

Seaside Dawg

September 5th, 2010
10:14 am

GamePecker Pete, give it up. You’re not going to convince any of these Dogs that SCcan scare anybody. Columbia is just a place where good coaches go to die. SC will never be a winner… EVER!

Reality Check

September 5th, 2010
10:25 am

SC looked good Thursday and they may win the game Saturday, but they don’t “scare” anyone. Overall, Georgia has better athletes. It should be a good, close game like it is every year. I, for one feel MUCH better about the QB position than I did this time yesterday.

Destin Dawg

September 5th, 2010
10:29 am

Good news.. is we’ve got our Oline all back this year….. Bad news is… we’ve got the same Oline back this year !!!! can’t move “em out ????

Budweiser Bob

September 5th, 2010
10:32 am

Bill

How about writing about todays modern day Gestapo, better known as the NCAA

I mean really, how long does it take to find out if AJ Green was in Miami or not this is crazy

The NCAA is a joke and is showing everyone how they are. UGA needs to either have him on the field or move on. This hurts the team and players that they say they are there for.

Once again the NCAA is a joke period

Reality Check

September 5th, 2010
10:32 am

BTW Gamec0ck Pete, I watched the youtube video you linked. I think it speaks volumes about your gridiron success that you have a “highlight” video that features Steve freaking Tanneyhill. ROFL!!!!!!!!

Destin Dawg

September 5th, 2010
10:36 am

they’ll get better… young QB’s… I’ve said we HAD the talent.. now we’ve got the coaches on defense… great to see discipline.. no penalties.. late hits.. etc.. BTW.. I’m watching a replay of Gators game agaist a 1-11 Miami Ohio …. from yesterday.. they look terrible… chest pains Urban… not hearing so many blogs from Tampagator ?? Go Dawgs !!

cleveland dawg

September 5th, 2010
10:50 am

I really feel that from a recruiting standpoint that georgia in the past has out recruited south carolina,but the games are always close, which tells me that we were outcoached,but with granthams new attack the ball defense,I can already see a difference in the type of athletes we have,much more aggresive when allowed to attack,way better than the read and react defense that martinez ran,it slowed the game down to much for the great athletes we have. Now lets put a good thrashing on SC go dawgs

Never going to Outback resturant again...

September 5th, 2010
10:50 am

You pretty much said it all, Bill. Good article.

BugKiller

September 5th, 2010
10:51 am

Did anyone notice that Oklahoma’s secondary got BURNED by a mediocre Utah State, almost costing the top-10 Sooners the game?

And the Sooner’s new secondary coach?

SOFT WILLIE MARTINEZ!

Pardon me for a second: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Whew. Okay. Now I think I may cry because Richt kept that useless, incompetent, BFF on his staff and promoted him to DC after he’d been a DC failure at two other schools.

Thank god that talentless hack is GONE!!!

Frank Lane

September 5th, 2010
10:56 am

I think that we are three touchdowns better than South Carolina. Take one away for being on the road. I think that we will win by 14. Our defense will shut them down and they cannot stop us completely. Not quite their year yet.

DawgBoy

September 5th, 2010
11:04 am

Impressed. Wish we would of threw to our 2 TE’s more.

Snellville Dawg

September 5th, 2010
11:05 am

If nobody else noticed…. the reason the running game was “slow” (we averaged 5 yards per carry) was because ULL was loading the box. Throughout the first half, both of their safeties were in the box. Furthermore, we were straight vanilla on offense the whole day. All but about 5 of our runs were straight up the gut.

They were making us throw it, and Murray made ‘em pay. If USC tries to do this next week, AJ Green will have a field day in their secondary, assuming he plays. If not Durham and T. King will pick up the slack.

Rod

September 5th, 2010
11:07 am

The AJC has picture of Richt and Grantham confering. It looks like Richt is chewing his butt out. What the heck is that all about? Did it have something to with how hard he was chewing players out?

Gatorbait 17-3

September 5th, 2010
11:13 am

I’ll give credit where credit is do-the dawgs looked very good yesterday. Murray was impressive and the defense looked more like the old Georgia defenses.

All in all it was a very good start for the dogs. On the other hand, the Gators looked
terrible, the worse game in 40 years-just terrible. Without question if the dawgs had
played the Gators yesterday, it wouldn’t have been close-Gators would lose.

Hopefully this can be corrected in the coming weeks, or it will be a long season.

Good job Georgia.

Gamec0ck Pete

September 5th, 2010
11:13 am

Snellville…. I Guarantee the dogs wont be facing a highschool team next week. The last two years the dogs have been extremely lucky against Carolina. Luck runs out next Saturday. Have your Tums ready Dude !